In the weeks since Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was ousted in a coup and his allies in the Muslim Brotherhood were declared enemies of the state, Egypt’s military has shut down most of the tunnels that serve as a lifeline for Hamas, the Islamist political and militant organization that governs the Gaza Strip.
“The army now runs Egypt and the army hates Hamas,” said Emad, who declined to give his full name because the tunnels are, at least technically, illegal. “They could care less what happens to Gaza.”
Under Morsi, hundreds of tunnels were allowed to flourish. Now there are a few dozen. So fuel prices in Gaza are soaring. Orders for steel and cement go unfilled. Projects to repave roads, build public housing and repair crumbling infrastructure in the impoverished Palestinian enclave have stopped.
Egypt’s new military-led interim government is openly hostile toward Hamas, which was born of the Muslim Brotherhood in the late 1980s. Hamas was ecstatic when Morsi was elected president of Egypt. But with its close ally now detained at an undisclosed location, the movement is finding itself more isolated than it has been in years.